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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.


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Unread 05-03-2010, 10:47 PM   #1
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Default First Time Vending Report

Well we did our first vending this past Saturday and learned a lot. It was like taking a few donkey's and putting them in the Kentuckey Derby. We set up and started serving at 12:00 noon. From the get go we were slammed with customers and there was three of us working the trailer. We did 80% of our sales from 12:00 til 2:00 then it died down and from 2:00 til 5:30 we did 20% of what we did 12-2. Cooked 18 butts, 3 briskets, 50 chicken leg quarters, few hotdogs, mac and cheese, baked beans, cole slaw, mac salad, chips and sodas. After paying my help I turned a profit but would like to see a better one. When done I had about 3 1/2 butts left and a bunch of brisket burnt ends. Chicken did not sell much at all. Sold lots of pork by the lb.

Things I learned- 1) Next time I will set up ready to go at 10am, we had people steadily coming up to us starting about 10:15am wanting BBQ but we were not ready and many said they were just driving by and would not be around any later in the day. 2) I won't try to stay there all day I will let people know I will be there 10am-2pm or until the line ends. 3) No more hotdogs, I cooked them for the kids and only sold one. 4) When I cater I will do all home made sides but never again while vending, I will do apples or boiled potatoes. Basically cut the can and heat up with the exception of baked beans. It created a mess trying to prepare everything and clean up. 5) Learn to be more organized, we had a barly controlled train wreck when we were busy. We got the job done and food out in a timely manner but needs to be a lot more organization.

I have a catering gig this coming weekend for 200 and next weekend open as of now so I will try it again in two weeks.
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Unread 05-04-2010, 12:16 AM   #2
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Glad it went as well as it did. I am sure it will get more organized. You had picked a busy weekend for the first time out if I remember correctly. Did you drop out of Louisa or am I mistaken about you being signed up in the first place.
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Unread 05-04-2010, 03:23 AM   #3
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Its all trial and error brother. We are getting our feet wet with vending small carnivals and festivals. It will get easier as long as you learn from your mistakes, too much variety can be a killer
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Unread 05-04-2010, 12:40 PM   #4
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Thats a big menu, a lot of work but ya got it done...
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Unread 05-04-2010, 12:54 PM   #5
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One thing that helped me: Get the individual serving cups for beans and salads. Then you aren't so rushed and overserve sides. Chicken never sells here either.
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Unread 05-04-2010, 08:54 PM   #6
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We'll be there Armor, I just talked to Bill he said he has us down but for some reason it was not on the site. Has me scared for a minute, it is my favorite competition.
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Unread 05-04-2010, 09:15 PM   #7
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You haven't taken any pics?

How will u market yourself? :)
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Unread 05-05-2010, 09:00 PM   #8
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Did you vend at a festival?
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Unread 05-05-2010, 10:08 PM   #9
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Way too much food on the menu. Go basic sides and meats. You are killing yourself prepping stuff that will not sell. Chicken is about 5% of my sales. Pork is 1 and then ribs right behind it. Sell sides, that is where the money is. Tell your front person to ask and push sides on every customer.
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Unread 05-06-2010, 04:58 PM   #10
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Jacked up, you hit it dead right. We killed ourselves. Next time for vending we will do baked beans, cole slaw and maybe canned apples or something that is open a can and dump. I tried to pull the pork as needed, but I think next time I will have it all pulled and in steam pans sealed with plastic wrap. Everytime I turned around I had to pull more pork. I have never pulled it and let it set in a Cambro, will it dry out if I seal it with plastis wrap after it is pulled? I did not cook any ribs as I was afraid they would set around. I had one person ask for them but may do a few racks to see what happens. I was selling a pork sandwich for $4.95 or a dinner with to sides for $7.50. We were set on beside a Kroger on a friends business lot. The lady with the newspaper took some pic's she is supposed to get me a copy, I'll post them when she does. Thanks
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Unread 05-09-2010, 12:53 PM   #11
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You did charge extra for the soda didn't you?
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Unread 05-10-2010, 08:37 PM   #12
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Yes I was charging $1 for ice cold 12oz can soda. Only sold about 19 though, kind of shocked me. Going back this weekend, gonna do 12 butts, 6 racks ribs, 1 brisket, cole slaw, baked beans and canned apples. Along with a few soda's and see what happens.
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